Father William Joseph Gabriel Doyle
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 13:31-35
Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you." He replied, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.' "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned. But I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
REFLECTION: " Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
The salvation of souls was the sole purpose for Father Willie Doyle, who served as chaplain of the 16th Irish Division of the British army during World War I.
Father Willie Doyle was an Irish Catholic Jesuit who enlisted as chaplain because he wanted to be on the battlefield when soldiers most needed a priest. He had a great impact on everyone he met. Father Doyle converted a woman, baptizing her and celebrating Mass hours before her execution.
He was not scared to be with the combatants and many times would run over to where the men had been shot or wounded. In the middle of the battlefield he would hear confessions and administer the last rites. His life was in constant danger but he never left his men. His priority was to save souls on the battlefield. He had a special gift of connecting with wounded souls.
On August 16, 1917, Father Doyle died in the Battle of Ypres, and his body was never found.
"To do something great and heroic may never come, but I can make my life heroic by faithfully and daily putting my best effort into each duty as it comes round, " Father Doyle wrote in his diary. Indeed he was a priest on fire for Jesus and His Church, the Body and Bride of Christ.
" Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." Truly in this time of the "Wounded Priesthood", Father Willie Doyle was the perfect example of how priests suffer and give up their lives for their flock. As priest, he indeed was the living and transparent image of Christ.
Let us pray the Prayer for Priests, and offer petitions to God in faith, with love and hope to draw graces on our beloved priests.
Reminder: The First Annual PAPA Conference will be held for members December 6-8, 2019. Theme: "Wounded Priesthood: What is the Solution?".